Herbert The Brave Sea Dog
A True New Zealand Story
First Published : in 2008 by Molly Paul Books.
Ages: 3 – 7
Theme: Faith, belief, devotion, survival, historical fiction,
First Lines: Herbert was a small dog who lived in Nelson by the sea. Everybody liked him, but the person who loved him most was Tim.
Synopsis: Herbert was a small dog who lived in Nelson, New Zealand, by the sea. Everybody liked him, but the person who loved him most was young Tim. One day, an excited Herbert sets off with Tim’s father on a boat, heading for their cottage in the Marlborough Sounds, while the rest of the family travel by land. However, the weather soon turned rough and Herbert was catapulted into the biggest adventure of his life, from which he emerged a hero. Robyn Belton’s heartwarming, beautifully illustrated retelling of a true-life story of a very strong bond and belief, that Herbert will survive is very moving, even in this short story. The fact that Herbert survived swimming for 30 hours is incredible and made headlines around the country. He received the “Iron-Dog” Award and received many gifts and letters from people.
Why I liked it: There are many why one would love this story…. It has that awww feeling. It’s a happy every after story. Children will love this, its real and I loved that at the back there are a newspaper clipping and some letters/telegrams from well wishes. Herbert certainly touched the hearts of many. There is also a pic of his award medal and certificate, also a loving acknowledgement to the people who were involved back then. It’s also hard to believe it happened back in 1986. Had Ellen Degenerus’s show been on, I am sure she would have heard about it and had Herbert on her show…lol. Another thing I liked was when I flicked through the pages a few times the illustrations reminded me of how I loved to draw as a teenager, the wispy pencil lines are a style I love.
Resources/Findings: Here is a website with the author at the celebration of the book with some of the real characters. http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/667390/Brave-dog-Herbert-lives-again-in-book
A great site if you are looking for more boat books or animals on boats…. http://www.boatbooks.co.nz/children’s.html
Here is a cute step by step drawing of a dog for kids… click the next>> button to get the next stroke…… http://www.kidsfront.com/how_to_draw/dog_drawing_7.html Note also other drawings for kids on this website…. Very well done.
This book would be a great discussion book in the classroom… leading into looking at safety at sea. Children could write their own letter to Herbert.
A great resource in teaching kids about safety in and around water…. http://www.rnli.org.uk/shorething/Adults/Projects/Water.aspx
For more books with resources please visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors